Vir Das jokes his way to bag an honorary doctorate
While India was waking up to the concept of stand-up comedy in the early 2000s, Vir Das showed the country that it was okay to laugh at ourselves
While India was waking up to the concept of stand-up comedy in the early 2000s, Vir Das showed the country that it was okay to laugh at ourselves. With a Netflix comedy special in his repertoire and another series for Hulu in the works, he is one of the few artistes who have taken Indian stand-up comedy to an international level. Recognising his achievements in the world of performing arts, his alma mater - Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois - is all set to felicitate him with an honorary doctorate. The actor-comedian has also been chosen to give the 2018 Commencement Address at the esteemed college in June.
A source close to him tells mid-day, "Looking at how Vir took the Indian performing arts scene to a global stage, the college decided to recognise his efforts. Also, Vir will become the second alumnus since 1971 to serve as the commencement speaker. The previous speakers include Barack Obama, Eva Longoria, US senator Richard Durbin and comedian Stephen Colbert." Thrilled with the honour, Das says in his trademark humorous style, "The wife is already calling me 'Honorary Dr Das'. I'm not sure if I'm even remotely deserving of this honour."
He goes on to say that the college was instrumental in making him step out of his comfort zone and attempt comedy. "Knox was this wonderful place that catered to kids like me who couldn't otherwise afford to study in the US. They had an amazing faculty that took an economics student and turned him into an actor-comedian," he says.
Aware that he is preceded by skilled orators like Obama and Durbin on stage, the comedian says that he will encourage students to take the path less travelled with his Commencement Address. "I'm not sure what wisdom I can offer. I'll let the students know that there is a world of choices available to them if they think out of the box."
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